If you are wondering, as I’m sure many of you are, let me explain what a cargo bike is. It’s a very special sort of vehicle and a great way of introducing cycling to families and businesses alike.
My name is Deborah Willemen and I am a cargo bike mummy. I recently moved to Tottenham from Belgium. I’ve been cycling for over 30 years and have owned an array of bicycles, even after I became a parent.
I brought my cargo bike with me from Belgium, but unfortunately this wonderful machine was stolen in front of my house last October. I launched a ‘go fund me’ campaign straight afterwards and it was successful enough for me to buy a replacement, but this time I chose a different sort: the mighty Dutch Utility Bike.
So, now we have the true definition of a ‘cargo bike’, essentially any sort of bicycle which you can use to transport children, groceries and anything in-between. I’ve even used it to transport live chickens.
Riding it through Tottenham is an experience. People stare at me, and I know they are thinking ‘what a marvellous idea. Kid on the back, groceries and bags in the front.’
Many people come up to me, commenting on the bike, telling me how practical it all seems to be. The thing is, utility cycling is not a new idea. It has been going on for centuries, but the concept got lost in England over the years, whereas in mainland Europe it has thrived.
I have seen many a cyclist commute to their work on racers or road bikes. However, I don’t see many parents bring their children to school by bike, which is astonishing because in Belgium a whole lot of parents do. I’d like to start changing this situation.
Haringey is a borough that would be ideal for more parent cyclists and their children. The new Cycle Superhighway 1 is being built as we speak, but it is not going to be enough.
We need more parents to speak up and more schools to lobby for active change. We can only press the council on the matter if we do this as a community. And as we have a great community here in Tottenham, I am confident we can make this happen.
Hopfully very soon I won’t be the only mum bringing my son to school by bike. Who wants to join me?